Have you ever heard the expression “too much of a good thing”? It’s a phrase that holds much truth, even when it comes to oral hygiene; if you aren’t careful, you can brush your teeth too much! In fact, dentists estimate that 10% – 20% of people damage their teeth or gums from overbrushing. Keep reading to learn more about the potential dangers of this habit, along with some tips from your dentist in Columbia to help you achieve a proper brushing method.
Is Overbrushing Your Teeth Dangerous?
You’ve probably been told your whole life that you should be brushing your teeth daily, but do you know why? Brushing keeps your mouth clean by preserving the integrity of your enamel and keeping your gums healthy and taut. But overdoing it and brushing vigorously can actually wear down your tooth enamel and push back your gums, exposing the sensitive root areas of your teeth. This can lead to serious oral health problems like cavities and periodontal (gum) disease which will need to be addressed by your dentist.
How Do I Know If I’m Brushing Too Hard?
The signs of overbrushing aren’t always obvious and they usually occur gradually. That said, don’t hesitate to seek treatment if you’re experiencing any of these issues:
- Tooth Sensitivity – If your teeth feel increasingly sensitive to hot or cold temperatures, this could be the result of enamel erosion due to overbrushing.
- Gum Recession – Your gumline can begin to recede or become uneven, exposing the roots of your teeth.
- Discoloration Near the Gums – Beneath your gums, your teeth are a darker shade due to there being less enamel present, so gum recession can also make your teeth appear discolored.
- Worn Toothbrush Bristles – If your toothbrush bristles look worn and frayed, you’re likely overbrushing and should also consider replacing your toothbrush with a new soft-bristled one.
How Should I Properly Brush My Teeth?
When it comes to brushing your teeth, it’s not about how hard you scrub; it’s about how you scrub. Here are some tips to ensure that you’re brushing your teeth correctly and effectively:
- Place the tips of your bristles at a 45-degree-angle to your gumline when brushing.
- Use short, circular strokes instead of sawing back and forth across your teeth.
- Apply just enough pressure to feel the bristles against your gums; if you feel the bristles being squashed, you’re pressing too hard!
- Brush twice a day, spending 2 – 3 minutes each time. Don’t forget to floss and use an antibacterial mouthwash.
Overbrushing your teeth can be just as harmful as not brushing them at all! But by knowing how to identify the signs of overbrushing and utilizing a proper brushing technique, your smile should be all set to look and feel its absolute best.
About the Practice
Columbia Healthy Smiles proudly serves patients and families in the Columbia area under the leadership of Dr. Philip Batson and Dr. Elizabeth Abe! Both dentists have several collective years of experience and expertise and their practice is pleased to offer a wide range of available services including preventive, restorative, cosmetic options and more. If you have any questions about the article or would like to schedule an appointment, you can contact the practice online or by phone at (573) 875-7071.